Environmental Chemistry Laboratory
The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, under the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), evaluates test methods for pesticides in soil and water; provides quality assurance technical support to EPA regional, federal, and state laboratories; develops analytical methods; and provides analytical support to national dioxin initiatives and monitoring studies.
Location: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
- Auditing Environmental Chemistry Methods for OPP’s Environmental Fate & Effects Division in support of pesticide registration and reregistration activities.
- Providing analytical support for special projects, such as a study of the effects of chlorinated drinking water on diazinon and a TBT release-rate study on paints.
- Providing Quality Assurance technical support and training to State FIFRA laboratories, EPA regions, and other Federal agencies.
- Providing analytical support to the National Dioxin Reassessment/Exposure Initiative Programs (OCSPP/ORD).
- Providing technical support to the Dioxin Expert Panel (OPPT/TSCA).
- Providing analytical support to national monitoring studies.
- Developing new analytical methods.
The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory (ECL) provides technical and analytical services to the joint OCSPP/ORD Dioxin Reassessment Project and Dioxin Exposure Initiative in the detection and determination of the concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and -furans (PCDDs & PCDFs) and co-planar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a variety of environmental samples including ambient air samples from across the United States under the National Dioxin Air Monitoring Network (NDAMN) and dietary foods (e.g., beef, pork, poultry, milk). ECL has provided technical support services to the following agencies:
- US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the investigation of the concentrations of PCDDs, PCDFs, and co-planar PCBs in animal feed components and their uptake and translocation in cattle; investigating possible contamination of animal feeds by the use of adulterated sources.
- Agency of Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR) in an investigation of human exposure to PCDDs, PCDFs, and co-planar PCBs in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, examining soils, dusts, water, and food items.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in studies of the presence of PCDDs in mineral deposits (i.e., clays).
- State of California in developing its own air monitoring program for PCDDs, PCDFs, and co-planar PCBs.
- OSHA at the New York World Trade Center and Department of the Army at the Pentagon in response to the September 11th incident; assessed possible exposure to PCDDs, PCDFs, and co-planar PCBs by rescue and cleanup personnel at those sites.
Over the past two decades the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory (ECL) has worked with quality assurance personnel within the OPP and other agency programs to develop, maintain, and strengthen a highly effective and efficient quality assurance (QA)/quality control (QC) program. To this end ECL developed and implemented an ECL Quality Management Plan (QMP), which has been integrated into the OPP Quality Management Plan. The ECL QMP ensures that all required quality management systems are in place. This QMP is reviewed each year and undergoes an OPP technical review every third year. To ensure valid, defendable data, a number of procedures are followed. Specific quality assurance project plans (QAPPs) are developed for each environmental measurement project that includes input from all personnel involved in the project, inclusion of all elements of the project, and signed approval from the overall management team. QA/QC control measures are used in the collection, receipt, preparation, and analysis of all samples and sample sets. These control measures include, but are not limited to:
- preliminary demonstrations of capabilities (field sample validations)
- instrument QA/QC (calibration, standard curves, control charts, instrument maintenance documentation)
- adequate QC sample analyses (method and matrix blanks, spiked matrix samples, replicate samples, standard pesticide reference materials [SPRMs] when available).
- transcription checks on and peer review of all data
- final independent review of all data and projects by ECL QA Officer
ECL participates in collaborative and blind intercomparison studies with other laboratories and analyzes performance evaluation samples as required for specific projects. ECL is an annual participant in a number of international intercalibration studies. ECL has an active, comprehensive QA/QC program which provides very high quality environmental data to the Agency and people of the United States.